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I know I'm not alone in saying how hard it can be to find a quick, easy, healthy, and budget-friendly meal. My go-to is smothering some vegetables and tofu in some soy sauce and sriracha or maybe some jarred marinara when I'm in the need for something nutritious and filling on-the-go. But, to be real with you all, that gets old very quickly.
As someone who loves to cook elaborate meals but doesn't always have the time do so, I'm always on the hunt for recipes that taste like they took me hours when I may just have less than 30 minutes to whip up a quick WFH lunch. Omsom's traditional Asian sauces tick all my boxes and more.
The Vietnamese sister-founded brand makes authentic-tasting sauces from countries all over East and Southeast Asia. From a Filipino Sigsig sauce that tastes like a chef-prepped meal atop some tofu, to (my favorite) the Korean Spicy Bulgogi, you really can't go wrong with any of their seven scrumptious offerings.
But, Omsom isn't just about making delicious food easy and accessible. "Omsom’s mission is to reclaim and celebrate the multitudes in Asian flavors and stories," says co-founder Kim Pham. "Growing up as first-generation Vietnamese Americans, my co-founder and sister Vanessa and I never felt seen or heard by the 'ethnic' aisles in mainstream grocery stores. Why does this aisle even still exist?!"
Upon that realization, Kim and Vanessa both quit their jobs to built Omsom with the goal of reimagining the Asian food category. Here's why it's a brand I think everyone should support:
Everyone who has tried this loves it.
I personally opt for using the vegan set since I am plant-based (they have a gluten-free set, too!), but I have tons of carnivorous friends who swear by the brand. Our very own Women's Health deputy digital editor, Maridel Reyes, swears by the Vietnamese Lemongrass and Thai Larb flavors—she even has a subscription to them to keep the sauce packets coming to her doorstep on the reg. Yup, don't be surprised if these become a pantry staple for you, too.
What's more is that a super picky chef friend of mine even loves this—she uses the Japanese Yuzu Misoyaki as a marinade for meats at barbecues. And, yes, she may or may not pretend she did it all from scratch (you can, too—I won't tell).
They make cooking easy.
Vanessa and Kim's sauces, which they call "starter packets", contain everything you need to...well, start a dish. The fully spiced and seasoned ingredients come in one packet, and all you have to do is add your (mock) meat, tofu, veggies, noodles, or rice.
"The starter format really allows us to provide the foundation of a dish with a level of cultural integrity that has been, disappointingly, hard to achieve until now while also leaving so much room for flexibility and experimentation," says Kim. "We want to not only celebrate real-deal Asian flavors but also empower folks to actively and creatively engage with them."
And, she makes a great point. The starter packets are great for you aspiring home chefs, or as a gift to the new grad in your life who's learning how to cook.
Omsom is a brand I love to support.
I can't lie—I consider my sister to be my best friend (also, soulmate), so I have a total weakness for sister-founded brands. But, Omsom is one I love to support for reasons far beyond that. Kim talks about the fact that she and her sister had to overcome a lot to be taken seriously throughout the building of their now beloved brand.
"Throughout our early fundraising journey, we were told time and time again that an Asian American brand like ours is 'niche' and not worth investing in and that our audience was too small to be significant," says Kim. "As first-time founders, it was incredibly difficult for Vanessa and me to hear this when we knew in our hearts that Asian flavors absolutely have a place on the modern American dining table."
Luckily, the brand did eventually find investors who believed in Kim and Vanessa's vision of a future in which the Asian American consumer could no longer be ignored.
"We are ready to be unapologetically defiant and strong in the face of bias, and I will say that having the right community surrounding and supporting me (we’ve worked very hard to find other BIPOC and female founders on this journey) and the inner conviction in our vision for this business has been crucial."
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